Warren Gets Dark Money Help in Florida

New Florida Majority drops six figures supporting struggling candidate

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) / Getty Images
March 3, 2020

Elizabeth Warren's flip flop on super PACs is paying dividends in Florida. Her struggling campaign got a boost from a dark money group late last week that spent more than $100,000 on canvassing and advertisements to support Warren's candidacy.

New Florida Majority, a progressive social justice nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, disbursed $101,345 between Feb. 27 and Feb. 29 to help Warren's campaign. Warren has promised to rid the political process of super PACs and dark money. After her campaign went into February with just $2.3 million cash on hand, Warren reversed course on receiving help from super PACs when Persist PAC formed on Feb. 18 to support her candidacy.

It now appears Warren has similarly reversed course on dark money. When a dark money group purchased an ad in November supporting Warren in Iowa, the Massachusetts senator's campaign asked the group to halt its promotion of the senator. "Elizabeth Warren believes democracy is undermined by anonymous, dark-money attempts to influence voters—whether that influence is meant to help or hurt her candidacy," Chris Hayden, a spokesman for the campaign, said.

Warren's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the new dark money effort to support her candidacy in Florida.

New Florida Majority endorsed Warren late last year. At the time, the group said it was ready to mobilize constituents in support of the senator's plans for "big structural change."

"The stakes are too high for millions of Floridians in 2020," said Andrea Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority. "We're prepared to support whoever the candidate is to defeat Trump and his agenda of inequality and division and our members endorse Elizabeth Warren as the best candidate for the job."

In its endorsement statement, New Florida Majority boasted that it helped reach 1.5 million voters and register 20,000 new voters in Florida as part of a coalition of liberal groups during the 2018 elections. That coalition, known as the Win Justice campaign, focused on the battleground states of Florida, Michigan, and Nevada.

Win Justice's federal PAC was initially bankrolled by a $3 million check from liberal billionaire George Soros, who was for months the PAC's sole source of funding. Soros later contributed another $2 million to the committee. Cash also flowed in from billionaire megadonor Donald Sussman, director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, and a host of liberal groups, including the Center for Community Change, Planned Parenthood, and the SEIU.

New Florida Majority has a goal of registering 100,000 new voters for the 2020 elections. Last week, the group held a joint press conference with the Florida Democratic Party and two other activist organizations, boasting that the groups have registered tens of thousands of Floridians as Democrats. The Florida primary is scheduled for March 17.